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Road Money Deal Still Up In The Air

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LANSING, MI (WLNS) - Key legislative leaders are talking in optimistic terms about nailing down a deal on raising more money for road repairs.

6 News Capitol Correspondent Tim Skubick reports negotiations are on a path toward a possible solution.

“I think there's a path that can get us there,” said State Representative Tim Greimel.  

Constructive talks continue between the republican and democratic legislative leaders. Senator Randy Richardville has not lost his sense of humor in these delicate talks.

“It kind of reminds me of Frankenstein. He’s got a whole bunch of dead parts, putting them together and trying to breathe life into it. If that lightning bolt hits in the next day or two, maybe we will bring life to it. I just hope it’s not a monster,” said State Senator Randy Richardville.

Here's what the monster might look like to fix the roads. A $1.5 billion boost in the wholesale gas tax, but that would be linked to a one penny sales tax hike on the ballot in November. Voters could pick one or the other.

“In November if the voters say we prefer to increase the sales tax instead, maybe that makes more sense for them because they don't want to see any movement at the pump,” said Senator Richardville.

The house democratic leader wants some tax relief for low income families, if the republicans are going to boost the price of gas.

“If they want to do that we need to make sure that there’s some tax relief for low to moderate income people who are struggling right now,” said State Representative Tim Greimel.

Reporter: “A 50-50 chance?”

Representative Greimel: “Yeah, probably about that.”

Democrats complain that the talks have been complicated because the governor is in New York Tuesday working on jobs.

“For the governor not to be here makes it much harder for all of us to come to some conclusions,” said State Representative Sam Singh (r), East Lansing.

Reporter: “Well, he can talk to people on the phone.”

Representative Singh: “Well absolutely, but you know how it is to negotiate, you have to see people eye to eye.

The governor will reportedly be back in town on Tuesday as the road talks build toward a positive conclusion. Maybe or maybe not.
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